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Archive for May, 2007

Artists Block

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If I’m ever struggling for inspiration, I find the best way to push through is to find myself a project that is so large and absorbing, that I can’t help but think about painting instead. While at Amitie the other night I bought some beautiful fabric to make myself a skirt or two,  and have had so much fun just looking at, and thinking about the beautiful colours, that I made another trip to a different fabric shop (just for a look mind) called Patchwork on central and then I lost control…..

I found one Japanese fabric that I thought would be great for a quilt for my son’s room.  To be honest, he has a quilt that I bought ready-made, and some of the appliqued bits are starting to shred, so it is in need of some serious repair – really a whole new top.  Not so hard is it?   Feeling ebullient, I even accepted help when it was offered by the shop-lady-person (I NEVER accept that….), and before I knew it, I had the most splendid collection of fabrics laid out before me that looked good and not too try-hard, and inspiring…. So inspiring.

I started yesterday – and I must say it’s going swimmingly.  Very chaotic and completely unplanned (as is my way), but it’s looking kind of wonderful I think.

Of course while I was there, I couldn’t resist some stunning Kaffe Fasset (who doesn’t loooove Kaffe) to make a quilt for my daughter’s room – because now – I am (in my own mind) and expert at this and I am not scared (as she would say).

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OK – now I have a huge project I can go and do some painting instead. 🙂

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Me – today, still to have a shower….. I hate that – dropping my son off at school in a rush, and coming back feeling all grubby.  That’s one of the things that will have to change in the near future I think.  A shower every second day would save water – but it feels horrible…..

I may be the last person in my acquaintance to have realised it – but it all of a sudden hit me last week that we are in serious trouble on this planet as a species unless quite a lot of what we do changes – and fast.  20 years ago I remember seeing a spate of documentaries about climate change and global warming, and how if we didn’t do something about it soon – we would be paying for it within our lifetime.  Companies put out ‘recycled’ everything, there were ranges of CFC free products, and we got into the habit of separating our waste.  Now – with the exception of separating our waste, we pretty much do things the same way we always did.

Plus there are more of us.

And, (and this really freaks me out) almost everything we wear, touch or use has been made in China – where, I am sure they are not doing the environmentally conscious thing.  We have come to expect that jeans for our kids will cost not more than $30 – and that means they will have been made for 60 cents by some worker in a dingy factory, far from their home, sleeping in a dormitory, and struggling to send money home.  We are the ones that make that possible, and I see no solution to that.  For the most part, jeans that cost $200 are still made in a factory in China – we just pay more for them.  I wonder how they handle their waste, when they handle their workers so poorly.  I wonder what that is doing to the planet, while we sit here, feeling good about using recycled toilet paper.  It’s still our problem.  It’s all of our problem, and it’s getting more noticeable.  We still have a drought, it’s nearly winter and our trees still have all their leaves – they are only starting to turn yellow in the last few days.  We had the warmest night on record for May since 1943 this week (summer temperatures).

My Dad sent me this as well.

Something is definately skewy, and it’s starting to worry me rather a lot……..

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The nature of our friendship – oil and wax on linen, 2007

A new work, that will go into the Ripponlea Art Auction in a few weeks.  I’m pleased with this one.  It’s not huge – 60cm square.

Friendship is a strange and wonderful thing.  The best friends are ones you can pick up easily with after not seeing them for a while.  The ones you’d forgive anything because you know they always have the best intentions.  The ones who you know love you for all your faults, and despite the fact that the last time they saw you you were looking dreadful and were unintentionally rude to the person who kindly brought the cake at the cafe.

I have had my best friends for over 15 years – which is really, really freaky to me.   But I also like making new ones, and it’s amazing how many really nice people are out there if you’re open to the idea that there’s room in your life for new ones.  And there always is isn’t there.  🙂

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….sniff…..

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I’m not going to complain because I know I’m not alone.  I’m certainly not alone in my house anyway…… grumpy, congested kids anyone?

So I thought I’d share our family cold-chaser soup recipe.  The quantities are not exact – I never measure anything exactly – just throw it in and hope for the best, tasting at the end and making adjustments if necessary.  The following should make enough for 4 bowls of soup:

You’ll need fresh 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, a big handful of fresh parsley, 2 handfuls of chicken (left over roasted chicken is the best, but a fresh breast is perfectly fine), 2 teaspoons of chicken stock powder, pepper, 6 cups of boiling water, a lemon, 1 cup of dry pasta (spaghetti or fettuccini broken up into small sticks).

Dissolve stock in the boiling water, then add chopped or minced garlic, break chicken into small pieces, and add it.  Chop up parley and throw that in, with a few grinds of pepper (white or black – whatever you feel like, and sometimes I do both).  Let it heartily simmer away for about 15 minutes, then taste for salt.  Add your pasta, cook for 8-10 minutes, until it is al-dente, then squeeze your lemon in.

Hey presto!   It feels good for your body, the smell is wonderful, and for some reason it always makes my kids happy – even when they are sick.  You can’t ask for better than that in my book. 🙂

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George was sick of being told by stupid mechanics that his car was a lemon….

My submission to illustration friday.  I actually had this idea last week for ‘citrus’ and never got to it – so when car came up this week, I figured it must be fate. 🙂

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Lucky, lucky me!

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting 12 crafty ladies, organised by the lovely Nichola & Justine (over at Nikkishell and 62 Cherry) at Amitie – a truly magnificent fabric store. All were Melbourne bloggers, (most with a craft focus) and it was very inspiring to be surrounded by such talented and charming company. We all made gifts to trade on the night, and every time I received a new package which were all so beautifully and carefully crafted I felt so blessed and unworthy in some strange way.

It was, to be honest a bit nerve-wracking to meet them all in such a brightly-lit room, around such a big table. There was absolutely nowhere to hide, so I warmed myself up by purchasing a small stash of some superb fabric (more on that another day). I’m sure I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. 🙂

After a bit of small-talk, and general nervousness, Nichola suggested we all start the swap – and one by one we passed things around and gave a brief intro. So nice to put faces to blogs, and get to know people a little better. Strange to meet people in the flesh who you feel you know through their blogs. You learn so much, and you know so little really. ….

Here’s why I was so lucky, and who we all were:

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This little cutie from Tatania

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This lovely scarf – plus a pattern to make a gorgeous softie from Jhoanna

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A fabulously cosy hot water bottle+cover from Dana

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A book in a hand-felted, and beautifully stitched cover from Joanne

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Hand-printed (gotta love a gocco) cards from Kirsten

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The softest angora mittens and a card from Leslie

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A fab needle-case and card from Justine who couldn’t come – oh we missed you!

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And this! from Nichola

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These hand-cut and printed cards and a truly gorgeous little fella from Rosie & Melly

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Plus an amazing journal and badges from Susannah

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And this soft notebook in an (Armani!) embroidered cover from Tina

My contribution to all of this was some quilted pincusions, made of linen offcuts from canvases. I wasn’t so much trying to be thrifty as find something unusual that was functional and said a little about what I do. The pins were made of shrinky dinks and were done by hand. The shape of the pincusions werre supposed to be like little mountains, which always remind me of winter – having grown up under the shadow of Mount Wellington in Hobart.

Such a fun night! I’d love to repeat it – with a bit less nerves next time. 🙂 Funny people arn’t we.
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Dare to be joyful – Oil on Linen, 2007

Finished the above work yesterday. It’s quite a contrast to the work I was doing 6 months ago.  That was all dark and colourful.  I’ve moved to the lighter side and for now it’s all good.  Hopefully it’s still vibrant.

Feeling much more comfortable with the oils as well, and starting to know myself within them, which makes me feel happier.  If only I had the time (head space) to paint.  Zara is sleeping some days – other days she is cot-bound and merrily trying to hold a conversation with me or her favourite ‘dog’.  Hard to be seriously expressing yourself on canvas while being a grumpy mother.  Perhaps this piece is about that.  The love does just become all consuming, and it’s hard to look at activities outside her while she’s there and giving of herself so blissfully.

Tonight I’m meeting the Melbourne blog ladies…..

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We each had to make 12 items to trade with the other on the night.  They all seem to be crafty people, so I wanted to make something that would be useful and a nice reminder of the night.  I also wanted to put something of myself into the gift, but to whip up 12 paintings would have been impossible and ridiculous, so I compromised and made something out of linen (for painting on) offcuts.  I’m quite pleased with their subtlety and minimalist construction.  I’ll post a pic after tonight, but didn’t want to show more in case anyone might be looking and spoil the surprise…..

If any of you 12 are out there, I’ll see you tonight! 🙂

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